Mayor Jamie Bova called for a recreation and sports workshop in October after Newport City Council unanimously accepted a $ 100,000 state grant to build a new basketball court at the Sports Complex. Abruzzo. But other sports leagues, including Little League Baseball with T-ball, have started to mark their territory. Supporters of a new skate park, which some say could cost $ 1 million or more, also want a slice of grass.
Representatives from all sides spoke at the virtual council meeting on September 16. Before the council voted to receive the grant, Bova made an amendment to hold a workshop to resolve the dispute.
The state grant is only for the basketball court, Bova said. She said there was some confusion that the grant also included a Newport Skate Park, and she asked for clarification on funding and location.
Councilor Susan Taylor said she has been working to improve recreational opportunities in the North End since 2017. “Council will not be deciding the location of the court, but let me assure you the neighbors would like to be at the court. current with the conversations we’re having, ”she says.
Bova said the workshop will include all aspects of recreation at the Abruzzo Sports Complex. Scott Wheeler, Superintendent of Parks, Lands and Forests, said: “We fully support Little League. [at various parks], and we don’t want to bypass Little League or T-ball. We don’t want them to get lost in improvements to the entire sports complex. “
He said all the sports leagues want to be involved in the development of the complex “so that they can cohabit on this site as we envision.”
One option would be to send T-ball to Murphy Field. But skateboarding enthusiasts have always pushed for funding.
“We really encourage the board to approve this grant which will hopefully pave the way for a long-awaited skate park in the town of Newport,” said Doug Sabetti, president of Friends of Newport Skate Park. “We are really looking forward to a workshop. We’re excited to start fundraising to bring a skate park to town.
Resident Jennifer Jackson, who sits on the Little League Board of Directors, added, “We support the basketball court. We have no problem moving our T-ball field. We don’t mind the skate park going there. We just don’t think there is enough land to build a skate park. Once you’ve built a basketball court there, it doesn’t leave a lot of room for them to build. “
One skater said she looks forward to the workshop because skateboarding is not taken as seriously as basketball or baseball. She said she had to travel far to find a park. Later, a mother said she had to take her children “off the island” to find a “decent” skate park. She lamented the loss of an old skate park in First Beach.
“If you don’t have room for these kids, it’s really bad for them,” she says. “We really need a park for the kids. People don’t want them in their neighborhoods. They think they’re going to break things. People think skateparks are not a good thing. This is a good thing.
Maxwell Reese, a skateboarder, asked how to use the concessions currently at the park to help fund the new skate park. The baseball contingent did not like it.
Planning Council member John Oliveira, who is also involved with the Newport Little League, intervened via Zoom saying, “I cannot stress enough how important the snack is to the Newport Little League. This is the only meal [certain kids] to have. Each child gets a hot dog at the end of the game. If they take that away from Little League, then Little League will likely disappear. We have enough smart people here to understand how we can have a park and a field together without taking one from the other.
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